Wake up. First time being up this early since before Winter Nats. Bagel, tea, bag. Out the door. Still got it.
Airport. Drag self through check-in. Find Schroederlings and Coach. Is it nap time yet?
Boarding plane. Do some knitting to keep awake long enough for take off. Then it’s tray table down and sleep.
Disembark. Find next gate. Knit to keep awake while iPod charges. Watch baby Schroederling’s gear while they run off to enjoy caffeinated beverages. Can it be nap time now?
Land in OKC. Fetch bag. Cram into car with other pros and all the toys for the hospital visit. Wait for nap time.
Checked into hotel. Visited Subway for lunch. No Michael Phelps. Munched marinara meatball sub. Thought about nap time. Went back to hotel. Unpacked. (Read: threw clothing in corner, tossed towels on chair, draped self on bed.) Considered shaving. Decided to nap.
Pro athletes gathered for a visit to the Children’s hospital. Took the bus. The hospital itself was bright and colorful. We split up into groups and visited various parts of the hospital, talking to kids and giving away swim caps. My group went to the ICU. Some parents shared the stories of how they – and their children – ended up there. Others took a back seat and let us just talk to the kids.
It was difficult to keep from asking the “How are you doing?” question. Or the “What happened?” question. But as a group we figured out pretty quickly that a number of the kids were very invested in sports – either playing or cheering for teams. With that as a connection, they were suddenly not just broken bits of humanity in beds, but little passionate lights, burning with an excitement that hardship could not extinguish.
If I remember nothing else of this week, it will be the faces of the children who lit up as they told us about what they love to do. Passion is purpose.
Meet start. Event order: 200 Medley Relay. 1000 freestyle. 800 Freestyle Relay.
Got to play in both relays. In between, took advantage of the Pro Athlete hospitality room – plenty of goodies in our goodie bags! (Mine is next to Eugene Godsoe’s, so… I hope some sort of transitive power means I’ll swim fast this weekend.) Lots of good food – more pizza than a pack of wolves could devour. Plenty of fruits and veggies and the all-important power bars. Starting to want nap time again.
Second dinner, because we are actually hobbits. Second dinner is at a BBQ joint that uses heat-lamps for general lighting and serves up ribs, pulled pork and chicken buffet style with as much squeeze-on sauce as you could hope for. And crumbly, delightful pear cobbler to top it all off. Also got to meet roomie – breaststroker Katie Meili – more officially. Warm, happy, sleepy. Nap time?
Back at hotel. Prepping for bed. Totally ready for tomorrow: Suit? Somewhere. Towel? Somewhere. Bag? …maybe still on the bus. Who cares. Tomorrow starts early. It’s nap time!
Day 2 >>